16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead)

Primal Fear

PRIMAL FEAR was a nice surprise for me when they hit the stores with their […]
By Dimitris Kontogeorgakos
May 14, 2009
Primal Fear - 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead) album cover

PRIMAL FEAR was a nice surprise for me when they hit the stores with their Frontier Records debut New Religion. The band seemed to finally worked its way through the small box called German Power Metal and produced the best album in their back catalog. No, I am not implying that the previous albums were below average; I am just saying that they were not something really special apart from following the same old path that was carved years ago by bands like HELLOWEEN (Kiske / Hansen days) and GAMMA RAY of course.
Actually, Mr Scheepers became well known during his GAMMA RAY days and by the fuss created when JUDAS PRIEST were searching for a singer. His powerful Halford-like vocals had established him as one of the leading voices in the German Metal scene but the history tells that the Brits chose Tim Ripper Owens instead. Well, I think that Ralf's career developed way better with PRIMAL FEAR that it would if he had been chosen to take Halford's place. The foundations of these thoughts are based on the fact that Mat Sinner and Ralf made a powerful team that has been producing very good albums. Especially, with New Religion the German band revealed some strong composing potentials and finally Ralf's voice was fully deployed. So, here we have the second Frontier Records album that to my great delight continues in the same vein with New Religion.
Riding The Eagle should not be mistaken as the classic Power Metal opener. Ok, we have the distinct guitar duel and the galloping rhythm but when the vocals enter the song literally explodes. The excellent melodies breathes through Ralf's voice that hits hard on the high pitches. Six Times Dead (16.6) brings back the hearty dark atmosphere and gains some heaviness through the excellent bass sound and the killer twin guitar work. I think that PRIMAL FEAR have solidified the lineup and for this they sound as compact as hell. Black Rain slows down a little with some nice keyboards and the nicely placed guitar effects. It should be noted here, that Dennis Ward is responsible for the album's sound and the excellent balance between melody and power that is not losing an inch from the overall heaviness.
Even though I mentioned the word melody many times, the album is not rejecting its classic German Power roots. The riffs are straightforward and obviously catchy and the songs follow -on an average level- the groovy sounding rhythm. On the other hand, the band introduces some really nice ideas like the intro of 5.0 / Torn that introduces a killer bass sound and some keyboards on the back building a nice atmosphere. SINNER and ACCEPT influences like in the addictive Smith & Wesson (try not to sing the chorus!) or in the Fast As A Shark sounding The Exorcist.
I do not want to say more about this one. It is confirmed; after the PRIMAL FEAR recruitment by Frontiers they have evolved reaching a higher musical level than before. Ralf is getting what he deserves and Mat has someone to rely on. Really like to watch them live... Watch below the final studio report and take a small sound taste.
PS: On the 8th of May the new video clip for Six Times Dead (16.6) will be premiered in the band's official myspace page.

8 / 10


"16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead)" Track-listing:

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Riding The Eagle
Six Times Dead (16.6)
Black Rain
Under The Radar
5.0 / Torn
No Smoke Without Fire
Night After Night
Smith & Wesson
The Exorcist
Hands Of Time
Cry Havoc

Primal Fear Lineup:

Ralf Scheepers - Vocals
Henny Wolter - Guitars
Magnus Karlsson - Guitar, Keyboards
Randy Black - Guitars
Mat Sinner - Bass & Vocals

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